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Who is this 17-year-old Swiss ace on being chased by Middlesbrough? The next big thing in the Championship?

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Stephane Cueni scout report: Everything to know about Middlesbrough’s target

As per a report from Italian publication Calciomercato, EFL Championship outfit Middlesbrough are in the running to sign Switzerland’s teenage sensation Stephane Cueni.

The 17-year-old midfielder, who plies his trade for the U18s of Swiss fourth division club Team Vaud, has emerged as a transfer target for a number of Italian top-flight clubs like Udinese, Parma and Torino. And Middlesbrough too have thrown their hat in the ring to try and lure the teenage midfielder to the Riverside Stadium. (h/t Calciomercato)

With serious interest from Boro in the midfielder, let’s take a closer look at who Stephane Cueni really is and what he would bring to the table should the Teessiders sign him;

Footballing Background

Born in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 14 2001, Cueni came through the youth ranks at Team Vaud and made his debut for the U18 side back in 2016 at the age of 15 years, 7 months and 22 days.

The midfielder became a regular for the U18s in the 2017/18 campaign and was appointed captain as well, as he ended the campaign with 3 goals from 24 appearances. The 17-year-old also made his debut for the U21s, with a five-minute cameo in May earlier this year.

He has featured 10 times for the U18s in the ongoing term and has added another substitute appearance for the U21s as well. Cueni is yet to break into the senior setup at Team Vaud, however.

The teenager has represented the Switzerland national team at the U16 level and has been called up for the U17s as well as the U18s, but is yet to make his debut for either side.

Style of Play

A central midfielder who excels in the box to box role, the 17-year-old can also play the anchor role deep in the middle of the park and has been used as an auxiliary forward at times in the ongoing campaign as well.

Cueni possesses a decent turn of pace and has the ability to drive at opposition through the middle of the park, putting his dribbling skills to use. The teenager has the vision and the range of distribution to launch attacks with diagonal balls from deep areas in the midfield and can mix it up with short incisive passes through the opposition. At 5’9”, he isn’t the tallest but has the strength to shield the ball under pressure from opponents.

Not shy of putting in the hard yards defensively, Cueni is a strong, aggressive tackler and seems to possess good defensive awareness as well. However, what stands out about his game is his calmness and maturity when on the ball. The midfielder never seems hurried under pressure, which is a great sign for someone his age.

What does the future hold?

Cueni’s contract with Team Vaud runs out at the end of the season, leading to the interest in him from several clubs. At 17, the midfielder has a long way to go but the early signs are positive.

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Middlesbrough, who are currently embroiled in the promotion battle in the Championship, should be viewing the teenager as one for the future and Cueni does seem to possess the potential to grow into a first-team member in the years to come.

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